Ice Fishing Ahead
Inside the Outdoors, January 5,

That always seems to be the big question during the coming months. If it pans out this year, one can’t beat our lakes for some of the best ice fishing to be had. The great thing is, both Twin Lakes and Keystone State Park Lake are loaded with various species that make wonderful meals any time of the year.

Take crappie, for example. Many anglers may not be aware, but Lower Twin Lakes have some fairly large specimens to catch. I know because night fishermen who have bubbled over with enthusiasm have told me of their nightly hauls.

And it’s not what one may be thinking. No, they didn’t keep them. They threw them all back. So that second chance remains.

So, what does one use to catch these and other fish that may be waiting for a meal under the crusty surface? Before I ever read up on the subject, the bait I usually got by the tub were waxworms (‘waxies’). One can fish them several different ways and they always produce.

I was amazed to read in a North American Fisherman magazine of winter, 2014, by Dan Johnson, from an article titled Tough Winter Crappies that he suggested dangling two waxworms from a red hook, or actually putting them on the hooks of suspended lures as well.

One has to keep in mind, I’ve never gone wrong using ‘waxies.’ They have three main characteristics that fish can’t resist. They wiggle, having an alluring odor and a taste worth consuming (I assume. I have never tasted a waxworm).

Johnson recommends using a small jig like a Northland Mooska or Hexi Fly, in the one-thirty second to one-sixteenth-ounce class. He went on to state, “But there are times a little spoon or jigging minnow works when the finesse approach isn’t happening. So I keep a second rod rigged with a small dropper soon, Puppet Minnow or Rapala jigging Rap in the mix, too.”

In the past during the few times I went ice fishing with former customers of my past establishment, maggots were the thing we attached to small jigs. Toting an ice fishing rod and the various equipment necessary, using itsy bitsy little fly-like lures tipped with these critters the size of white rice seemed to attract fish that may have been scared off by fake looking gadgets or unnatural lures that somehow didn’t seem right for some reason or another.

Since I did bring up the species of crappies, Johnson suggested one use dropper spoons. If placed on a free-swinging hook fish will inhale this bait. He also suggested jigging minnows with a single spike or maggot on the nose or tail treble hooks. He pointed out, “Meat on the tip adds scent and is easy for the fish to pull into its mouth.”

If we don’t get ice, the fish will still be out there. Try using Frank Moff’s Bobber With A Brain Jr. It’s great for anytime fishing. It’s a winner for ice fishing, for sure! Need one? Email me.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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